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ATI, NVIDIA Launch New Chipsets for Socket AM2

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the it's-called-synergy-folks dept.

134

theraindog writes "The web is swirling with reviews of AMD's new Socket AM2 processors, but they're not the only new chips launching today. ATI and NVIDIA have both introduced new core logic to accompany Socket AM2, and The Tech Report has a comprehensive comparison of the new chipsets. ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 and NVIDIA's new nForce 590 SLI are run through an exhaustive suite of application, peripheral, and power consumption tests with surprising results. The nForce 590 SLI definitely has the edge when it comes to the sheer number of integrated peripherals and extra features, but the CrossFire Xpress 3200's performance is competitive, and its leaner approach pays big power consumption dividends. It looks like ATI may finally have a credible alternative to NVIDIA's domination of the Athlon 64 chipset market."

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134 comments

Take your pick (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387866)

On the one hand, you've got Ferrari with its sleek lines and power-packed drivetrain. On the other you've got a McLaren with its race course-styled lines and race track pedigree.

Which one you spend your money on is up to you and the aesthetics you find more pleasing.

As for me, I'll stick with my Toyota Corolla and the 42mpg that it gets.

Re:Take your pick (2, Funny)

capitalj (461890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387891)

I will take the delorean, cause if your gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style.

Re:Take your pick (0, Offtopic)

glsunder (241984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387949)

This is totally off topic, but do you really have a corolla? If so, how do you like it? I'm thinking of getting one in the near future.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388155)

corollas are nice, but I would think about what you are buying for. Gas mileage, quite a few cars beat it (any VW tdi will get 50 mpg on diesel, and diesel costs less right now in most parts), if you are looking for comfort but can spare some mileage, look at some of the larger toys if you like toyota. I love my tdi, so I am biased. If you want a gasser, with 40+ mpg, the civic, and the corolla are your only choices under 20k. You can find a used tdi for about 10k, and the engines are good for 300k. Its up to you, but my buddy likes his corolla and I love my tdi. Just decide what you are buying for and do your research.

Re:Take your pick (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388228)

I've got a 2006 Civic and the mileage is really great, as long as you drive like someone who's trying to save gas. I can go 500+ miles on one fill up, which is about 38 MPG. Plus it's very comfortable. The stereo is nice, the sliding sunroof is a great feature, and the engine is so quiet. That really helps your ninja attacks.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388677)

any VW tdi will get 50 mpg on diesel, and diesel costs less right now in most parts


$2.85/gal for diesel here in Ohio compared to $2.49/gal for regular unleaded. at 50mpg vs. 42mpg, the difference (of $0.002/mi) is barely worth it.

unless you live near a station that has cheap diesel or regularly drive by a lot of stations with diesel, gasoline will almost always be cheaper because you can compare prices online & get it from more stations (which will most likely be closer).

Diesel was cheaper than unleaded after Katrina last year at (it hardly went up when gas shot up $0.50/gal), but quickly shot up to $3+ a gallon after unleaded had fallen below $3 again.

Plus, if you buy a Corolla or Civic, they most likely were made in the USA (or possibly Canada)

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388754)

I pay 2.65 for regular unleaded, 2.65 for b20 (20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent d2) and am capable of making b100 (pure biodiesel) for about 1.00 a gallon. Im in VA, which will explain the difference in fuel prices. I can get over 50mpg if I want. I drive 80 mph most of the time and still pull 47 - 48 mpg. If I drop it to 60-65, I am pulling 50 - 55 mpg, wich is right in line with the civic hybrid. In the long run, gas is going to go up, diesel is too, which is when I will start making my own, (no warrenty, already ran that out). Or I can spend 1200 and convert to straight waste vegitable oil and still pull close to the same mileage. That makes the wvo even cheaper in the long run. Diesel is also very easy to find, most people have a shell, exxon or conoco near them. They have d2 quite often. If not, Truck stops always have quality diesel that gets treated properly (winterization, anti gell).

Your point is valid though, which is why I suggested to do homework, evaluate what you really want, and choose on his/her own. I had a corolla (a 92 I think) and wasn't to pleased with it, but it was used, and very abused.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388156)

I've got a 2001 Corolla, 4spd auto (EPA fuel economy 30/39, 34 avg). I actually match the EPA ratings pretty closely, with around 29 mpg with my daily agressive suburban driving route (lights or stop signs every 1/2 - 2 mi, lots of hills, 40-50 mph, & typically fast acceleration) & 34 mpg with half highway, half "city".

The Corolla is comfortable enough, hasn't needed service outside of regular maintenance, and is fast enough for my usage. (I only have ever floored it when I was trying to set the high score on the speed telling machines on the side of the road).

Apparently, the newer redesigned Corollas (2003+) have an improved engine that has both increased fuel economy and increased performance. Plus, they got rid of that 3 speed auto transmission.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388221)

(I only have ever floored it when I was trying to set the high score on the speed telling machines on the side of the road).

Jeez, you're not gonna win that game around here, what with the cops parked behind the machine. :-)

Re:Take your pick (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388171)

Go for it! The Corolla is like the Honda Civic of Japanese imports.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388237)

...especially since most Corollas are made in North America -- California or Ontario

Offtopic too. (1)

ag-gvts-inc (844888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388527)

I have _heard_ (and read independant reviews) that the Volkswagon diesel engines are getting ~48-54 mpg highway. I don't know what your buying criteria is, but these are cars the I'm looking at buying.

Re:Offtopic too. (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388604)

Too bad it's diesel. VW could use some style in its lineup too. Other than the Beetle these are pretty bland cars. And they admit it too with their "low smug emissions" commercials. It's just a marketing tool to push blandly styled cars.

Re:Offtopic too. (1)

ag-gvts-inc (844888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388745)

'are cars the' --> 'are the cars'
previewing didn't help...

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388626)

I have a 2k6 Honda Civic Hybrid. My last three tanks were 55.5, 55.7, and 53.1. I do mostly in town driving. For that driving cycle, nothing except a Prius or Insight will touch it for MPG.

Re:Take your pick (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388648)

You may also want to consider a Chevy Prism which is a rebadged Corolla.

It'd have to be used (1)

miller701 (525024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388722)

2002 was the last year for the Prism.

Re:Take your pick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388769)

Here are my experiences looking at 98-02 Prizms and Corollas last year, looking for cars with 50k-70k mi:
- The Prizms were all cheaper. Not that that's a bad thing, but out of the 5 Prizms I considered looking at, 1 was 5spd manual and the other four were all 3 spd auto. I wanted a 4 spd auto. The 4 spd auto has overdrive, meaning better highway mileage.
- The cheapest Prizm was $6500 (down from $7000) for a white 01 with 68k mi and not many features. The most expensive was $8500 for a silver 02 with 52k mi and some features (no 4-spd auto, but power locks/windows).
- All three Corollas I looked at were advertised at $10,000 when I looked at them. One was a 2000 VE (cheapest/no features at all), but very well maintained. They offered $8,000. The other two were both discounted -- as one was at a Honda dealer and the other at a Lexus dealer.
- One 2002 Prizm had some sort of weird scratches under the oil cap & a replaced radiator. Otherwise, it was in fine condition. The history report said it came from New York (I'm in Ohio). A Corolla with the same mileage and more features was $1000 more, so I went with that instead.
- The Corollas were obviously more expensive, but they tended to be cleaner and from what I could tell better maintained.
- They do not come with ABS standard. Out of the 6 cars I ultimately drove, only one had ABS. If you want ABS, test drive the car and ensure that the car actually has ABS.
- I ended up paying $9500 for a 2001 Corolla LE with moonroof, keyless entry/security, power windows/locks, AM/FM/CD, 4 spd auto, and 51k mi. The main features not present were ABS, side airbags, and foglamps.

Re:Take your pick (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387967)

BAG, you're slipping. While you did use a car analogy, it wasn't a particularly bad one. Anyhow, as for me, I'll keep riding my bike. Hey, does anyone know how to perform a POST operation with an abacus?

Re:Take your pick (5, Funny)

coleblak (863392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388018)

Yes, tip it forward, then back. If beads slide into the proper ready position, POST has passed. If they do not, call your Abacus builder for warranty information.

Re:Take your pick (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388148)

It is not so much my civic's gas mileage as the fact that it is already paid for. Just costs me gas and tires...

Re:Take your pick (2, Funny)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388416)

Well,... its more like mainboard which I would be proud to show in my computer and another Barbie gay model which I would be embarassed to show. But anyway, ATI owners, there are still non-transparent cases out so you can relax.

Is ATI concentrating on usual Barbie collectors with this colors or what?

AM2 vs. Conroe (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387886)

Hexus Review [hexus.net] .

Not entirely on topic, but it is interesting.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387928)

That link was in the AM2 review [slashdot.org] summary half-a-dozen stories down.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (5, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388014)

Not entirely on topic, but it is interesting.

Wow, way to direct the comment moderator. Let me try. THIS COMMENT IS INSIGHTFUL.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (3, Funny)

CrosseyedPainless (27978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388112)

Oh yeah? Well, this comment is Funny, yet Offtopic. So there!

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388184)

This comment is invisible!

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388429)

Who said that? Is someone there?!

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388627)

This comment is false.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (1)

SillySnake (727102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389182)

More true words have never been spoken.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388188)

Fuck me, it worked. I'll have to try that next time I post...

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (0, Redundant)

meh13579 (975202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388552)

Wow that looks like fun. This comment is funny.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15390041)

I, for one, welcome our new comment-moderator-directing overlords.

Re:AM2 vs. Conroe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388144)

hexus review is not particularly usefull.

the big thing they rave on about is the uber score in far cry at 1024x768.. first, who gives two shits about far cry? and second, who plays at that res? the other 2 game benchmarks show no where near those kind of speed improvements.

Good (1)

kanzels (975208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387926)

Good news, I'm planning to move to Athlon64 and finally I can choose between two vendors :)

Re:Good (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388374)

Why is it good news to us if you're planning to move to Athlon64? Oh, you meant that it's good news that there's two vendors. So you meant period, not comma, right?

</PEDANTIC>

:)

dfsdfsg (1)

Bleach and Vomit (975486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388422)

First Post

Ohhh, the web is swirling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387945)

I thought my monitor was broken.

tubgi8l (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387946)

guys ar6e usually file was opened

Why didn't AMD produce chipsets before? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387972)

Well, they did but not in any particular quantity, and pretty much only in the beginning to launch the Athlon off the ground. So what was the problem?

Re:Why didn't AMD produce chipsets before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388000)

They dont have the production capacity. For each chipset they would put out, they make a cpu less. Since third parties have capacity enough, this is most efficient. Also third parties have more experience and know-how about building (consumer)chipsets that AMD has not.

Re:Why didn't AMD produce chipsets before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388041)

AMD's 8131 and 8132 PCI-X HyperTransport tunnels are still very popular. AMD's entire chipset range was popular in servers until third party chipsets appeared as well. I have an old K8S Tomcat with an AMD8111 on it for example.

AMD also licensed out the design to another company, which was subsequently used in the Apple G5 workstations.

I personally do think that AMD should offer a solid chipset, not overfeatured, but with loads of third party providers covering the spectrum: ATI, nVidia, VIA, SiS, ULI (although they were bought by nVidia), Broadcom / Serverworks and possibly more (Cray probably have their own chipset, and there's Horus), there's no particular need now.

It seems the ordering of chipset preference for a gamer from today is: ATI, nVidia, ULI
For a server: Broadcom, nVidia

Re:Why didn't AMD produce chipsets before? (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388443)

There are probably more reasons but one was that they felt that competing with the chipset makers would just discourage them from supporting AMD at all.

A little worried about networking (4, Interesting)

Rorian (88503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15387985)

Seeing as the ATI board doesn't have a built-in ethernet controller (which honestly seems a little crappy, I thought these things became standard on-board features a year or two ago), and the motherboard only has a limited number of PCI / PCI-X expansion slots (very limited, if you go for an SLI setup, as I'm sure many will).. where is the room for expansion with other devices such as Soundcards, PCMCIA slots (yes, these ARE handy on desktop PCs in my opinion), WiFi cards, TV-Tuners etc?

It seems to me that you're really limited to just 1-2 additional cards, and not having an in-built ethernet controller really limits flexibility..

I'm also not 100% sure about having only 1 PATA connector, although this is probably a good thing these days..

The difference in power consumption just between different motherboards is quite amazing - I have never really paid much attention to the actual motherboard I use in the past, but I guess it is starting to get quite important to over-all system performance these days.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388049)

That's what I thought when I skimmed through the review. Not including ethernet is a major omission, imho. It seems that ATI really just wants you to buy their mobo and a couple graphics cards.

Re:A little worried about networking (5, Informative)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388095)

There's a PCIe attached Marvel GigE controller on the ATI chipset based motherboard. It doesn't take up a PCIe slot, it's connected to the northbridge on-board.

This is also how Intel connect their networking controllers AFAIK. Do all Intel motherboards 'limit flexibility' therefore?

ATI merely doesn't have an ethernet controller embedded into their southbridge, and I don't blame them if they can let the board makers choose a suitable stand-alone controller that will be better in the end than whatever ATI put in.

nVidia went the opposite way, and put two GigE controllers with lots of fancy stuff into their southbridge. Great for the 1% of people who need two Ethernet controllers, but I expect it is a side-effect of nVidia's server chipset line which probably shares the southbridge.

Re:A little worried about networking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388311)

Maybe that explains the extra power consumption.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

cubidou (569514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388100)

That the ATI chipset doesn't have a built-in Ethernet controller doesn't mean the motherboard designer can't solder one and hook it up to all those many PCI Express lines that are available on the chipset...

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388151)

If you read correctly you will note that they didn't build it into the CHIPSET - i would bet you would be hard pressed to find a board with that chipset that didn't have a Netcard built in.... personaly i think it makes sence.. it is a chipset designed to talk to devices.. and an network card is designed to talk to the world.. and honestly other companys are better at designing network cards then ATI or nVidia.. let the main board manufacture pick which one to put on.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

PhoenixPath (895891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388774)

So if the Mainboard manufacturers add these components in, does it not *completely* invalidate any claims of power-efficiency due very likely to the *lack* of these devices?

Dunno 'bout you, but I'll take the all-in-one package, tested and in widespread use, than a pile of commodity parts thrown together at the last minute. (Which you can bet some of these early ATi boards will look like)

It's a trade-off, and I don't think it's going to end up in ATi's favor.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389772)

it doesn't invalidate the power issue. there are far to many variables to cover and honestly no hardware review site has the testing equipment to test how much power a chipset uses .. they are taking relative delta values and shoving them on there web site..

personaly i don't think it will hurt ATI one bit.. board designers are used to this kind of thing and it will make no diffrence.. except on low end boards expect to see Realtek chips and high end see Intel Pro's or some thing of the like..

personaly i don't like the idea of nV putting theirs in because i am not a fan of their network cards - they just don't have the reformace that i want... numbers arn't everything - stability and consitencey both play heavy in the real world..and can't be repersented on a review site.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

PhoenixPath (895891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389881)

stability and consitencey both play heavy in the real world..and can't be repersented on a review site.

Stability and consistancy can *surely* be represented. A simple battery of tests, followed by burn-in equivilents would do the trick.

Yes, most review sites focus solely on performance. And I've not been hitting them oft as of late, but I am sure there are some that still look at the whole picture.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389982)

ok i will take that back.. it is posiable for a site to do it.. but

doing it != more $

where as screaming this is faster than that = $

and well they are all about the $$$ so yea.. i have stoped reading them mostly also.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388276)

Seeing as the ATI board doesn't have a built-in ethernet controller (which honestly seems a little crappy

I'll agree with you there, but...


It seems to me that you're really limited to just 1-2 additional cards, and not having an in-built ethernet controller really limits flexibility

Except for graphics cards (which have typically had their own bus since the days of VL - And even though anything can theoretically use x16, nothing does except graphics) and network, what more do you really need?

TV tuner? That falls into the "graphics card" category. WiFi, okay, I did mention network above. PCMCIA? C'mon, seriously? And sound cards... Yeah, AC93 used to suck, but current onboard sound systems do well enough that very few people even have speakers capable of resolving the difference.

I don't think I've needed more than two cards in any system I've built since the early '90s (back when things like HDDs and 2S1P1G didn't come built into every motherboard). I have two machines running today that have no expansion cards in them (and two more that only have graphics cards as an add-in).


I see your concern, but I really don't think it will hurt all that much. Also, don't forget USB2 - You can run just about anything short of a video card over that at full speed, even HDD and sound. I highly doubt more than a tiny minority of people will suffer from a shortage of expansion slots. And for those who do need more... Some MB manufacturer will continue to serve that niche, so no need to worry about that. :)

Re:A little worried about networking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388369)

Actually, a FEW other things use x16, but not many. At the very least, there are some peripherals that use x8, and odds are 10:1 that it's easier to find a board with an x16 slot than an x8 slot.

RTFA (1)

DataPath (1111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388320)

TFA said that the ATI chipset doesn't include the ethernet controller, BUT PROVIDES PCI-E LINKS TO WHICH MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURERS CAN CONNECT ONE.

It's really quite common for motherboard manufacturers to have to add an extra one of their own in order to provide GigE ethernet, or to work around a buggy chipset, or for whatever other reason.

The chipset also does nothing to limit the number of PCI/PCI-X slots. Again, the motherboard manufacturer can drop an inexpensive PCIe/PCI bridge there, and suddenly you've got 6 PCI slots! Wow! Magic!

If motherboard manufacturers thing 1 PATA connection is a problem, they can drop a simple PATA chipset on that PCIe/PCI bridge they added, or they can stick a 5-connector RAID 5 PATA controller on a PCIe link.

It looks to me like ATI provided a rock-solid base platform for OEMs to work from, without saddling them unnecessarily with legacy crap (excessive PATA headers or a wasted PCI bridge). Granted, the Ethernet controller doesn't fall under "legacy crap", but decent ethernet PHYs and MACs are a dime a dozen (well, a little bit more than that, but not much).

Really, the ATI chipset seems flexible enough to be designed into any level of system, and probably ideally suited for integration into SFF systems that the nVidia chipset would have a much harder time getting into. The one PATA connector would be ideal, passively cooled chipset, drop a cheap ethernet chipset on it, and bang! a nice mini-ITX board.

Re:A little worried about networking (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388378)

I'm also not 100% sure about having only 1 PATA connector, although this is probably a good thing these days..
How is this a good thing? Go to Newegg and try to find a DVD burner with a SATA interface. I found two, and they run $100.

This is really no limitation as long as you want only one optical drive. But if you want two (like I do), then you have both of them sharing an interface. In Korea, only old people have two drives per interface. If you happen to want three drives for whatever reason, then you have to get a SATA version and pay through the nose.

I like to have one reader and one burner. My reader really is better at reading than my burner it. I also like the idea of having them on their own channel. This really will be a non-problem once SATA optical drives are common and cheap, though.

Re:A little worried about networking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388698)

If you really want extra ATA-100 channels, you can buy a PCI IDE controller for $15.

Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388034)

I've recently started trying to build my new systems to draw as little power as possible. I've done fairly well at it, too (largely thanks to the 90nm Athlon 64s, although I'll keep my eyes on Intel's new offerings), with not a single system in my house sucking over 100W at the wall.

But I have to admit, it never even occurred to me that the chipset alone could account for (over) 20W difference between systems - And that only considers the difference between the two, not the absolute draw. I had previously focused on the CPU, then the GPU, then HDDs, in that order.

With the current trend in power consumption, it looks like my next system will focus on the GPU first, then Northbridge, then CPU, then HDDs! Holy reversals, Batman!

What next - Should I worry just how much power my fans and ever-growing number of parts with numerous LEDs draw? I never considered them as a significant draw, either...

Short answer is to avoid nvidia; wasteful designs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388119)

they are very wasteful of energy with everything they make.

Re:Short answer is to avoid nvidia; wasteful desig (1)

ChildeRoland (949144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388229)

Boo at you. Why would you need to post AC?

Re:Short answer is to avoid nvidia; wasteful desig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388463)

Hey, not all people bother to get a slashdot account.

Re:Short answer is to avoid nvidia; wasteful desig (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388395)

The longer answer would be nice - you know, back up that assertion with some corroborated facts.

Re:Short answer is to avoid nvidia; wasteful desig (1)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388951)

Obviously you don't know much about the fabrication process and the challenges of creating chips with the speeds they currently perform at.

It's OK to be ignorant, but don't assume that everything always boils down to some mega corp not giving a ratts ass about anything. Our chips are not wasteful. They are as fast as they can be for the available technologies that we have.

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388358)

I've recently started trying to build my new systems to draw as little power as possible.

I've been thinking of doing this.

How did you do it? Which components did you choose, and what tools are available to test things like power consumption and heat output?

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388749)

How did you do it? Which components did you choose, and what tools are available to test things like power consumption and heat output?

Just a little meta-comment first... If you log in to post, you can have Slashdot tell you when someone replies. But since you asked, I'll presume you plan to check back in the near future. :)


For measurement, I use a simple kill-a-watt meter. WONDERFUL little toy, and pretty cheap. Unless you have access to dozens of samples, though, you'll need to do your research up-front and the measurement just confirms your success. The below suggestions you should take as BROAD generalizations, you really need to look up each component of your system and pick ones that work together and give you what you need, all while minimizing power.

For your first critical decision (even if you put CPU as the #1 constraint), graphics. Do you just want desktop productivity with only the most basic 3d acceleration? Go for on-board Unichrome or (a bit older) Radeon Xpress (which tend to include the whole chipset, not just video). If you want some "real" 3d power for gaming, but don't rank that as the sole reason you own a PC, try to get one of the newer mobile GPUs. Personally, I went with a GeForce 6600, which draws low enough power to work in a passively-cooled config, but has enough horsepower to play previous-gen games at full res and highest quality (and most current games at the default quality). You might also consider driver support for it first - Many GPUs now offer a wide range of performance, dynamically selectable, so you can run in low performance (and thus low power) mode most of the time, then kick it up to play a game.

For the motherboard, if you don't need a ton of peripherals, uATX boards tend to consider power draw as a design constraint whereas most MBs seem to assume you'll just get a bigger power supply if necessary. And now we see that chipset makes a big difference as well - I'll apparently need to research this topic far more for my next build. ;-)

Which brings me to power supply... Most people don't think anything of it, and get the cheapest, biggest one they can find. I currently run all SeaSonic S-12s (well, one older SeaSonic, the model of which I forget but the same basic design as the S-12s). Nice quiet 12cm fan, and 85% efficient. They cost a little more, but keep your total power budget in mind - When I say I don't have a single system drawing over 100W at-the-wall, I mean it. I have one 380W in my file-server (spinning up four drives will most likely represent the biggest load your system sees), and the rest have 220W (the lowest SeaSonic makes), with not even a hint of instability. And don't neglect what a difference a few percent more efficient makes - On a high-end rig that draws 400W internally, going from 70 to 85% efficient will save a whopping 60W at-the-wall.

Currently, the biggest difference you can make comes from the CPU. Go with a P4, and you might as well abandon power consumption as a design constraint. On the opposite end of that spectrum, if you don't need a lot of horsepower, the Via Epia boards (of which you can now get a dual-CPU model, the DP-310) absolutely rock and have everything on-board - I run a passively cooled single-CPU Dual-NIC Epia as my internet gateway, with a CF drive, and the whole thing draws 26W (IIRC); yet, when necessary, I can use it as a low-end desktop machine fully capable of doing just about any common task short of gaming or video editing. For my "real" machines, I currently have Athlon64s (one RS400 chipset and one NForce4, the latter of which I now regret after reading the FP link). Though spec'd at a TDP of 65W, in practice they draw 30-35W under load, and 7-11W idle. A Pentium-M would give more bang-per-watt, but they cost a hell of a lot more. And as I mentioned, the next-gen Core Duos look very promising.

For memory, running one gig stick instead of two 512MB sticks (otherwise identical) draws only a bit more than half the power (and on the Athlon 64, two sticks frequently causes no end of headaches anyway). And of course, lower voltage means lower overall power consumption.
For HDDs, they all come out to the 15W ballpark. Ignore spin-up draw (except for picking a power supply, as I mentioned), and don't even bother telling them to ever spin down (under both Windows and Linux, in my experience, they never get to spin down for more than half a minute at a time anyway, which the spin-up surge all but makes up for). Basically pick what you like for HDD, it won't make much difference.

For displays, consider it a no-brainer to go with LCD. But a LOT of variation exists therein - You don't have much choice beyond trusting the manufacturer's specs, though. One area you can improve, however - If it has an external power brick, you can bet they used the cheapest crap they could find. Buy a $30 high-efficiency replacement with similar specs and you can drop the total by 25% easily.


Ummm... Nothing else comes to mind. Basically, you just have to do your homework, and decide what you actually need from your system - We'd all like a pair of SLI'd GF7800s in theory, but unless you do nothing but game, you might as well throw literally $20/month in the garbage for what the electricity to feed them costs.

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15389006)

And don't neglect what a difference a few percent more efficient makes - On a high-end rig that draws 400W internally, going from 70 to 85% efficient will save a whopping 60W at-the-wall.

Heh, if you're drawing 400 at the wall I doubt you care much about efficiency.

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (4, Informative)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389367)

That's a nice overview, but one important thing you forgot to mention for those who want a decent video card with a good performance/power ratio is that NVIDIA just recently came out with the G71/G73 cores, both manufactured at 90nm, which market as 7900GTX, 7900GT, 7600GT, and 7600GS in decreasing order of power draw. The last one in particular has amazing price/performance/power balance - it's only about 4x slower than the most ridiculous single-card solution out there, has passive cooling (!), and can be had for under $120.

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389621)

one important thing you forgot to mention for those who want a decent video card with a good performance/power ratio is that NVIDIA just recently came out with the G71/G73 cores

Wow? I actually hadn't seen a comparison of those in terms of energy efficiency yet.

Having just looked it up, I see the 7600GS draws a mere 32W - Fully 20W (give or take a few between implementations) less than the 6600!

And it comes in dual-DVI versions. Aww man - Now I need a reason to justify the upgrade! ;-)

Re:Whoa - the chipset alone makes 20W difference? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388852)

What do you expect of something that needs a heat sink and fan? Granted, it is smaller than that of the common CPUs and faster GPUs, I currently don't run a graphics card that has a fan and the heat sink is pretty small.

So? When can I get one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388174)

When can I get on to Newegg or Mwave and order an AM2 motherboard? I need a new one ... should I just stick with stabliity of socket 939 or risk problems with the new stuff?

But once again .. (and it just has to be repeated) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388179)

With no documentation so we can write open source drivers, I and the many others like me have no reason to care what nVidea and ATI are doing.

Linux support (2, Interesting)

martok (7123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388201)

One of the reasons we haven't been able to move to athlon64 is the lack of Linux support on the nforce5 chipsets. In particular, SATA NCQ has never worked and afaik, they required an NDA for the ATA developers to work on this. I've also heard the ethernet has some issues. So let's hope these chipsets open up a bit.

Intel's chipsets have excellent Linux support BTW from the open ahci SATA to the e1000 ethernet drivers.

Re:Linux support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388474)

AMD has always been fairly accomodating to open source. Maybe you send them a nice letter explaining the problem. They probably can't convince ATI or nVideo to open up, but maybe they can suggest another manufacturer that would like your business. Is it just me, or are we subtly moving back to 'the bad old days' when you couldn't expect to use Linux/BSD on new hardware? NDA's are not the way go (you end up with cryptic, unreadable, unmaintainable garbage code, filled with magic numbers and lacking comments to make it comprehensible ... Linux developers should be telling nVidea to go to hell.

Re:Linux support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15389437)

SHHH! Don't let the nvidiots hear that or they'll start quoting benchmarks at you! Oh no, here they come!

  Uhh.. ATI IS TEH SUCK! NVIDIA IS TEH BEST 4 LUNIX UNLES U R A GAYZ GPL ZEALTO! IN WICH CASE U CAN BY A GHEY INTEL CARD OLOLOLOL!

( There, that should throw them off! Quick, run! )

Damn acronyms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388497)

In particular, SATA NCQ has never worked...


emphasis mine


For a second, there, I thought that you were describing the prime mythological Xian bad-guy-buggaboo as lazy.

Damn acronyms.

techreport crashes mozilla (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388240)

tried it twice.

Re:techreport crashes mozilla (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388750)

It works fine in Firefox.

nVidia Forceware 90 Series (3, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388254)

In conjunction with this, nVidia are also today releasing their new Series 90 [nvidia.com] of drivers for Windows, the biggest visible change is a new configuration panel interface [vr-zone.com] .

Re:nVidia Forceware 90 Series (1)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388274)

Yech. As if 30MB driver downloads weren't big enough...

Re:nVidia Forceware 90 Series (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388559)

Ouch. And I thought the 12MB Linux one was bad...

Re:nVidia Forceware 90 Series (1)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15390037)

These are still in beta, BTW. The WHQL-certified version is 84.21, Release Date: March 17, 2006

*Raises his hand* (2, Interesting)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388288)

Does anyone else remember when VIA was a big player in the chipsets? Like seriously, what happened to Via? I hardly see any AMD boards using Via chipsets anymore, most the new ones were all nForce until ATI started theirs as well...

Re:*Raises his hand* (2, Informative)

ltcdata (626981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388385)

Here you are: "VIA Announces Comprehensive AMD Chipset Support for Socket AM2 Transition VIA delivers full line of solutions for upcoming range of AMD products including the latest AMD Athlon(TM) 64 FX-62 and AMD Athlon(TM) 64 X2 5000+ dual-core processors" http://www.via.com.tw/en/resources/pressroom/2006_ archive/pr060523AMDSocketAM2.jsp [via.com.tw]

mod this guy up (1)

ag-gvts-inc (844888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388558)

Seriously, there are three major chipset vendors. This article should read "ATI, NVIDIA and VIA Launch new chipsets for Socket AM2." Thanks for the link.

Re:*Raises his hand* (1)

GodSpiral (167039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388446)

I'm waiting for the VIA chipsets. I expect they will support AGP, and will be cheaper due to not having features I'm uninterested in.

On the other hand, I may just get a 754 chipset sempron in a month, instead of waiting.

Re:*Raises his hand* (1)

archen (447353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389070)

I'll tell you what happened to Via; cheap shit that crashed all the time. I refuse to by ANYTHING with Via in it. Personal bias aside, VIA did actually get left behind in the cheap category where they used to dominate. As AMD started to push into the high performance market with more expensive CPUs, people opted for more expensive boards with them which left VIAs biggest market in AMD chipsets sort of out in the cold. VIA also has higher end stuff, but it was Nvidia chipsets that were first to really shine in the performance area. ATI then competes with Nvidia, and again VIA is sort of the odd ball.

If the ATi chipset drivers are anything like.... (2)

trparky (846769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388466)

If the ATi chipset drivers are anything like their graphics card drives (bloated and buggy), then no way! nVidia's nForce line has never let me down, I for one will stay with the nForce line.

Re:sticking with nForce (1)

Dimble ThriceFoon (567451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388839)

agreed.

first chipset was AMD 762

second was nVidia nForce 2 Ultra

third was nVidia nForce 4 Ultra

fourth was nVidia nForce 6150/430 (current)

fifth will be nForce 570 SLI in mATX format when one is made.

not that i care about the SLI, but the extra PCI-E 8x slot will be invaluable.

But what about (0, Redundant)

ag-gvts-inc (844888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388475)

Via? Am I the only one who still likes Via chipsets? Does anyone know what has been happening with their offerings lately? The last chipset from them that I've heard of was the KT890, and none of the vendors I frequent carried it.

Re:But what about (1)

ag-gvts-inc (844888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388601)

Sorry, the last one I _bought_ was the KT890, the last one I heard of was the KT900.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15388510)

What is the chance of an NVidia SLI setup working with an ATI chipset and vice versa? I predict that only ATI+ATI and NV+NV will work perfectly together while the other combos will have "minor but annoying issues".

Should vendors from one domain really make products in another domain, thus endangering compatibility?

Re:Question (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389648)

Zero chance of either for the forseeable future.

I tried one ATI chipset... (2, Insightful)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388611)

Last year, I was trying to build a HTPC, and bought a little SFF box. It had an ATI chipset inside... what a complete piece of shit it was. The drivers were awful, and the USB never really worked right. The system was connected via USB wireless, and I could rarely copy more than a 25mb file or so before the ENTIRE USB SUBSYSTEM would lock up... wiping out keyboard, mouse, everything. Ended up having to do a hard power off every single time. Turns out this was a widely known problem and, to my knowledge, it was never fixed. That SFF was a complete waste of money, a total loss. I should have just lit a few hundred-dollar bills on fire.... at least it wouldn't have taken all the troubleshooting time.

After my previous experience with the dismal ATI graphic drivers, particularly in OpenGL, they are on my shitlist for at least the next three or four years. The hardware may be good, but who can tell with drivers that suck that badly?

I'd suggest steering WAY clear of any ATI chipset.

Re:I tried one ATI chipset... (1)

Imazalil (553163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388783)

Sorry to hear that you had to waste your cash to find out, but remember, research the hell out of anything before buying! The ATI USB chipset issue was known about quite quickly, and became very wideknown. Their mobo's with the ULI chips are great, their new chipset seems to work pretty well too, judging from this article.

Balmer style - Research! Research! Research!

Just put together an Nforce4 system (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389031)

Hardware sites sure know how to make me feel good about my purchase.

"NVIDIA's nForce4 chipset family was introduced more than a year and a half ago, so it's long overdue for a replacement".

Dam you Techreport!

Btw a Passively cooled 7600GS from Newegg for $99 AR is a dam fine "budget" GPU choice.

Re:Just put together an Nforce4 system (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389418)

you can also get an open box sapphire x850xt pci-e (256-bit, 256mb, no funny business) for $135 (at newegg) that will beat the pants off a 7600. (get a fanless heatsink and it will be just as quiet)

NorthBridge (1)

carlosGames (943841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15389753)

I would love to not to have to ask this, but.... does someone here could tell me what would be the advantage of choosing a nforce drivers over VIA ones to use this CPU if i'm going to use linux? (on linux is not confortable the use of nvidia drivers and VIA support is native there so I would like a good reasson) VIA MOBO's are cheap enough to make me think those might be bad hardware but i'm not sure

Memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15390029)

Do the these chipsets support 1GB DDR2 or 2GB DDR2?
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